The ferry is reachable off the Florida Black Bear Scenic Highway.
Since 1853, the Fort Gates Ferry has transported farmers, soldiers, livestock, wagons, motor vehicles, and motorcycles from the Salt Springs area of the Ocala National Forest to the little community of Fruitland to the east. It saves about 50 miles of driving to reach the nearest bridge. 1853 is not a misprint, it's been in business that long every day except Tuesdays.
In stick we trust.
I love that optimism!
A stick is good enough security on a padlock hasp.
T'is the season to move from here to there, hither and yonder. I keep telling myself "you can do this!" but some days I am just pooped out early.
At Christmas, Angels and Santa Claus completed new tires on my baby. She requires 6 truck tires plus spare. Fortunately my Class C rig only requires 16 inch tires and not the much pricier 20 inch tires used on bigger rigs like Class A's. I've been buying a decent brand because I've heard horror tales from other RV owners who had cheap weird brands that did awful things to them.
I had been buying them on the installment plan... 2 here, 1 there, 3 to go plus a used spare. So it wasn't an installment plan of financing, it was buy them as I could squeeze out the money or in the case of the lone one I bought, it was a semi-emergency when one died on short notice. Simply blew out while camping, not driving. It was too old and too far gone to repair. Then one blew while driving last December. It was discovered the spare was 20 something years old.
Anyhow, after the final new tires went on at Christmas (plus a used spare that is only 2 years old) I scarcely drove anywhere. Just recently when I began wandering my way around down interstates, highways and byways, I noticed WOW this rig drives GREAT.
Amazing what new tires can do for the baby. I owe many many thanks.
My bicycle was uncovered one day because I had already taken it for a ride. Since I planned to ride it again before sunset, I left it uncovered. I noticed a small finch taking a supreme interest in my bicycle but didn't give that much thought.
Later when I went to ride the bicycle, apparently the little finch had started a nest inside my front basket. Harley dog loves to ride up front in that basket. I cleaned out the nest while apologizing to the little finch who fluttered around.
She landed forlornly on my bicycle seat, holding a small twig in her beak seemingly bewildered that her nesting efforts had vanished from the basket. I was studying her wishing my camera was at hand to snap her photo. She perched there for a few minutes then finally dropped her twig as if admitting defeat. It brought a tear to my eye. Poor little finch. In another moment, she fluttered away.
The next morning I decided to go for a ride. Bicycling is my form of exercise. It's a love and hate issue with me. I need more exercise (don't we all?) but "exercising" is monotonous hard work (for me!) However, bicycle riding is a happy compromise. It's green too. No pollution involved. No gym fees. No special clothing. I don't even own a car. In some places where I camp I can actually ride my bicycle to run errands or shop for provisions.
I uncovered the bicycle.
Much to my astonishment the little finch had worked all night long flying up under the bicycle cover, then rebuilding her nest in Harley's front basket. I guess to her it seemed ideal. The basket provided air flowing walls. The bike cover provided rain protection. The basket has a tiny bit of folded carpet in it for Harley's comfort. I found the carpet remnant for $1 already stitched and bound around the edges at Dollar Tree. It's synthetic, so even if it gets wet, it dries quickly, doesn't rot.
I snapped a few pictures of the nest she had started. I was completely blown away at the enormous number of twigs and strands of Spannish moss she has amassed in the basket overnight. The nest was even starting to take on a circular shape.
Nature is simply amazing.
We could all learn a lot from a little finch about the power of hard work and perseverance.
There I was poking down the 3 lane interstate in the far right lane at 64 miles per hour in my ancient Class C with the old fashioned (but functional) manual steps tucked away when a mega Class A came up on my bumper at such a rapid rate, I could count the bugs on his windshield just before he suddenly swerved then floored it to pass me. *Cough cough cough*
I thought maybe his accelerator was stuck cause he flew past me with such force followed by another Class A hot on his tail that the windage they produced nearly sent me off into the wild blue yonder of never never land.
I managed to snap this picture cause both were zipping down the interstate with their boarding steps fully stuck out while they weaved in and out and around other vehicles. The picture captures them coming from the left lane back to the middle lane again.
I guess they were in such a big bodacious hurry, there just wasn't time to push that little button to retract those steps.
Here is a picture I managed to snap after thanking the powers to be for sparing my life. The quality isn't that great because they were so far ahead of me when I took this and cropped it down to show the steps out. They continued to whip around traffic faster than a fire truck late to a fire.
I wasn't sure whether to be impressed, relieved or awed. I was just glad they were rapidly getting far away from me cause I don't fancy a wreck over such craziness.
For you non-RVers, look near the front tire of each rig and you can see the 2 steps on each RV stuck out. Most fancy diesel rigs of this type definitely have electric steps that require the enormous hard work of pushing a little button to retract them.
Life is goof. But I arrived alive!
I had to pull over at the next exit anyhow. Their crazy antics scared the pee out of the dog...
Looks like I may be rattling and rolling down the highways and byways in search of paradise. I don't think I will have phone or wifi where I am going. So there may be a gap here before I can post again.
I drove my motorhome 60 miles in the last 4 months. I've taken gas savings to the extreme level.
However, my camping reservation is finished at Wickham Park in Melbourne, Florida so I am shuffling about soon. Time to pack up this mess I call home and roll along. The 29th Florida Vietnam and All Veterans Annual Reunion are already moving in for their upcoming event held in the park each year. Matter of fact, many disabled and retired veterans have already set up camp.
The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall will be on display at Wickham Park starting April 17th for a week. The traveling wall is a 3/5 scale of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC. It stands six feet tall at the center and covers almost 300 feet from end to end.
This Traveling Memorial stands as a reminder of the great sacrifices made during the Vietnam War. It was made for the purpose of helping heal and rekindle friendships. It allows people the opportunity to visit loved ones in or near their home town who otherwise may not be able to make the trip to Washington.
Just typing that out brought tears to my eyes. I don't think I will ever understand the purpose of wars. Some things are just incomprehensible to my tiny brain. It seems like it's a lot easier to just be nice and tolerate those who are different.
But I know I am opening up a huge can of wild wiggling worms here. Maybe I better just shut up before I accidentally step on boots and toes. NOT my intention to insult anyone in any way. Many of my deceased relatives fought in wars. I doubt if any family is really immune. I think wars have been around for centuries, so who am I to question their existence?
In my own warped view of things, I see the current state of affairs in America, as a sort of business war as mega corporations seek to stomp out all competition and especially small businesses. I'm not in favor of that either. I think we need a healthy balance of both. Oh brother, I am really stepping in the dog doo-doo today! I seriously need to shut up and mind my own business of repairing my body, soul and RV rig... We both need lots more healing.
On to more mess...
Due to recent chaos, I have no reservations for April. Yepper, this April fool kind of messed up. Time marched forward faster than I was thinking...
Lately I've checked quite a few possibilities and one place I want to go visit refuses reservations since my arrival date is too close but they "think" they can work me in when I get there on a first come, first serve walk-in basis. Florida is one busy place, even in April to find reservations, especially for the weekends.
Tomorrow I have to get up long before sunrise and go park at a repair place that promises to fix my rig first thing when they open up. More on that later, let's see if they really fix it.
Some of these mechanics freak out when they find out my engine is an "ancient" 1993 with a whopping 60,000 miles on it. The RV is listed as a 94, but the engine chassis is a 1993. Seems silly to trash an old engine that has such low miles on it. But some mechanics tell me they can't work on something "so old". This seems silly to me! My engine purrs and runs great but of course needs some maintenance and now and then, repairs and so on.
It's a Ford engine yet last summer I was turned away from a Ford dealer in Travelers Rest, South Carolina. Life is goofy indeed.
A Ford dealer in Lavonia, Georgia used to do some work for me, but then they turned my records over to the sales department and some perky lady called me up thinking I was in a regular van. She wanted me to bring my van in and trade up for a new one. She was clueless about RV's and perhaps thought I was off my rocker when I explained I was living in it and it was a Class C. She told me Ford didn't make a Class C. It's true, they don't. Ford sells the "cutaway" van chassis to the RV industry and they build the RV on it. Confused? She kept promising me a great trade-in because of the low mileage and I was explaining that was exactly why I planned to keep it. I asked her to please take me off her call list. It was so confusing for her and for me. Normally I wouldn't go to a dealer, since they are notorious for high prices. But when I had fairly good luck at the Ford place in Lavonia, I thought that was the norm. Live and learn.
Somehow in my efficient style of living, I am finding that my limited storage on board my rolling home now has some big gaps of empty air. I decided to put my RV on a diet to lose weight. Over the years I've often found useful stuff through dumpster diving or purchases of used or refurbished equipment and so on. Some stuff has been patched and repatched of cobbled together so much, that when it broke again, I just hauled it to the dumpster. Also this campground has a table in the laundry room where RVers can park useful stuff they no longer want. I donated some stuff there and some to an animal charity that could use it for resale in their shop.
Off and on for a few months this past year, I was able to do some new product testing and reviews. This was a load of fun but also a ton of work. There is no pay involved, just the opportunity to acquire new stuff, test it out and write about it. As a result I was able to upgrade or replace some of my old worn out junk for new stuff. Some of it was just handy little items like testing out new pens, pencils, food products and pillows. My old stinky pillows were tossed out in favor of testing out new assorted pillows. I even tested out some toys and that was fun.
My dog has been working at this review testing too, as he was treated to things like a new teddy bear, a collapsible water bowl and an LED night collar that arrived far too big for him. Luckily a larger dog agreed to do the testing. She had thick white fur and the lights showed brightly around her neck.
Oops, time is running out and I've rambled long enough.
A whimsical reprint rambling from 2008 when I lived and worked in the Caribbean.
Just as I got ready to email this 2 hours ago, POOF the Internet mash up again. *sigh*
I am going to try again soon.
Speaking of banking...
Well, we weren't really speaking of banking, BUT...I read that the BVI has world class banking. That article is the laughing stock around the locals.
Our banking is dismal. If more than 5 people are in line, ALL the tellers go on break. If more than 10 people are in line, they ALL but one, go to lunch. If more than 50 people are in line, then it's a SLOW day at the bank as on a busy day, hundreds are in line. The longer the line gets, the faster the tellers vanish. No one comes from upstairs to help out on busy days. No sirree. We want everyone to wait for ages to do their banking.
Of course you get to hang out and chat up your friends. One lady suggested the banks relocate to restaurants and bars, so we could take a number, then eat and drink while we wait our turn.
That's an idea I like.
Banking in the BVI is maddening. I chose my bank only because they accept deposits at their machine. They are the only bank that does. I can't stand to wait in line for two hours just to make a lousy bank deposit.
However, I needed to buy a check that would be good in the US, otherwise known as an international money order. Oh brother. That meant a lengthy wait in a non-moving line. I learned how to nap upright and every half hour or so, the people behind me would shove me forward. I would wake momentarily, then go back to my standing nap. Moments before the bank was to close, they sold me a check. It took over 20 minutes to buy ONE check. I was impressed with the speed.
To the side of me was a lady who had been pulling out endless little brown bags. She would consult with the teller and they would make a deposit, then the next little brown bag would come out of her seemingly bottomless purse.
She had been at this for over an hour. The folks behind her were sweating and groaning, sorry they were in her line. Finally, she actually finished and left BEFORE me.
The teller sternly announced in an impatient voice "NEXT!"
The lady who was now next to get the teller acted like she was on a game show. IT was hilarious. She jumped up and down, threw her arms high in the air. "Yes!" she screamed. "It's my turn!" and she jumped up and down some more, clapping her hands excitedly with a million dollar grin as she rushed to the teller.
There she gushed and blushed and spun around and announced "I can't believe they chose ME to be NEXT!" as she jumped up and down some more.
I am not sure the bank employees and startled security guard (her antics ruined his nap too) appreciated her humor, but the rest of us sure did and we giggled and clapped excitedly for her.
By the way I KNOW you heard I made another colossal booboo yesterday. Cattle are herded, not hearded, but none the less, I somehow let my spell heckler make a fool of me again in yesterday's posting about being late for an appointment because I had to herd (not heard) cattle...